"Modern English Word Formation"
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The aim of this work is to teach students to be word-conscious, to be able to guess the meaning of words they come across from the meaning of morphemes, to be able to recognize the origin of this or that lexical unit. The task of the work is to show the ways of word building, i.e. affixation, suffixation, compounds, statives, vowel and consonant alternations and conversion. Topical interest. This work is of topical interest because English is a living growing language. The system of its sounds is subjected to various changes, the words and word combinations undergo changes. The most noticible and most appreciable transformations occur in words that form part of English, that is in its vocabulary.
The bad news is that even if you have an excellent vocabulary, you know only a small percentage of those words. The good news, however, is that you can increase your vocabulary throughout your life. The even better news is that once you have learnt a new word, it is yours for life. It will always be stored away, ready to be recalled the next time you have a conversation or write a letter or composition.
Let’s take, for example, the word ‘titanic’ in the following sentences. 1. The Titanic sank in the North Atlantic on an April night in 1912 after hitting an iceberg. 2. The enemies were locked in a titanic struggle. You can tell from the first sentence that Titanic is a ship and from the second sentence that ‘titanic’ means “having great size, force or power.
English is a living, growing language; new words are constantly being added. English words come from many sources. Some come from the dead language Latin, and others come from ancient Greek. Knowing the words and parts of words borrowed from Latin and Greek can help us understand the meaning of many English words. In general, English words are of two kinds:
Suffixation In Modern English, suffixation is mostly characteristic of noun and adjective formation, while prefixation is mostly typical of verb formation. The distinction also rests on the role different types of meaning play in the semantic structure of the suffix and the prefix. The part-of -speech meaning has a much greater significance in suffixes as compared to prefixes which possess it in a lesser degree. Due to it, a prefix may be confined to one part of speech as, for example, enslave, encage, unbutton ,or may function in more than one part of speech as over- in over kind, overfeed, overestimation. Unlike prefixes, suffixes as a rule function in any one part of speech often forming a derived stem of a different part of speech as compared with that of the base, e.g. careless - care; suitable - suit, etc. Furthermore, it is necessary to point out that a suffix closely knit together with a base forms a fusion retaining less of its independence that a prefix which is as a general rule more independent semantically, e.g. reading- 'the act of one who reads'; 'ability to read'; and re-read — 'to read again'.
grammatical provide a grammatical signal of some kind but don’t greatly alter the basic meaning of the word and those that, by being added, create new words. The endings are suffixes of the first kind. Grammatical suffixes are important in grammar, but in vocabulary we are more concerned with the second kind of suffixes – those that make new words – derivational suffixes.
Derivational suffixes can be classified according to the parts of speech. Classification of suffixes Old English MEANING EXAMPLES - DOM STATE, RANK, CONDITION SERFDOM,WISDOM, KINGDOM - NESS QUALITY, STATE GREATNESS, TALLNESS - th ACT, STATE, QUALITY WARMTH, WIDTH, GROWTH - ER DOER, MAKER HUNTER, DANCER, READER Foreign suffixes (Latin, French, Greek) - AGE PROCESS, STATE, RANK PASSAGE, BONDAGE - ANCE (ENCE) ACT, CONDITION, FACT ACCEPTANCE, DIFFERENCE
Noun suffixes - ARD ONE THAT DOES DRANCARD, WIZARD - ATION ACTION, STATE, RESULT OCCUPATION, STARVATION - CY STATE, CONDITION ACCURACY, CAPTAINCY - ESS FEMININE WAITRESS, LIONESS, TIGRESS - IST DOER, BELIEVER MONOPOLIST, SOCIALIST - ITY STATE, QUALITY, CONDITION ACIDITY, CIVILITY - OR DOER, OFFICE, ACTION DIRECTOR, ELEVATOR - TUDE QUALITY, STATE, RESULT MAGNITUDE, FORTITUDE - TY QUALITY, STATE ENMITY, ACTIVITY - SHIP STATE OF BEING FRIENDSHIP, MEMBERSHIP
Adjective suffixes - FUL FULL OF, MARKED BY THANKFUL, ZESTFUL - ISH SUGGESTING LIKE CHILDISH, BOYISH - LESS LACKING, WITHOUT HOPELESS, MOTHERLESS - LIKE LIKE, SIMILAR CHILDLIKE, DREAMLIKE - LY LIKE, OF THE NATURE OF FRIENDLY, QUEENLY - SOME APT TO, SHOWING TIRESOME, LONESOME - ABLE ABLE, LIKELY CAPABLE, TOLERABLE - ESQUE IN THE STYLE OF, LIKE PICTURESQUE, GROTESQUE - FIC MAKING, CAUSING TERRIFIC, BEATIFIC
Verb suffixes OLD ENGLISH SUFFIXES - EN CAUSE TO BE DEEPEN, STRENGTHEN FOREIGN SUFFIXES - ATE BECOME, FORM, TREAT ANIMATE, SUBLIMATE - ESCE BECOME, GROW, CONTINUE CONVALESCE, ACQUIESCE - FY MAKE, CAUSE, CAUSE TO GLORIFY, FORTIFY - ISH DO, MAKE, PERFORM PUNISH, FINISH - IZE MAKE, CAUSE TO BE, TREAT WITH CRITICIZE
Suffixes indicating smallness or lessening SUFFIX MEANING EXAMPLE -IE SMALL, FAMILIAR BIRDIE, GIRLIE, NIGHTIE, AUNTIE - LET SMALL, UNIMPORTANT PIGLET, LEAFLET, SRARLET, BRACELET, STREAMLET - LING UNIMPORTANT, DEROGATORY DUCKLING, DARLING, SQUIRRELING - ETTE, - ET FEMININE FORM, IMITATION USHERETTE, ROOMETTE, KITCHENETTE, CORONET - Y FAMILIAR FORM (USED IN FAMILY, WITH CHILDREN) Daddy, Billy, doggy - OCK SMALL HILLOCK, BULLOCK - EN SMALL KITCHEN, CHICKEN - CLE, CULE LESSENING ARTICLE, PARTICLE, GLOBULE
When speaking about the structure of words stems should also be mentioned. The stem is the part of the word which remains unchanged throughout the paradigm of the word. Stems have not only the lexical meaning but also grammatical meaning. They can be noun stems, adjective stems and verb stems. Sometimes it is rather difficult to distinguish between simple and derived words, especially in the cases of phonetic borrowings from other languages and of native languages with blocked morphemes, e.g. “cranberry”, “absence”,etc. Roots
Compound nouns are nouns built from two or more roots. They often have one stress. The meaning of a compound often differs from the meaning of its elements. Compounding- is one of the productive types of word-formation in Modern English. Compound words are inseparable vocabulary units. They are formally and semantically dependent on the constituent bases and the semantic relations between them which mirror the relations between the motivating units. The main types of compound nouns are as follows: Compounds noun-stem+noun -stem apple-tree, snowball, newspaper adjective stem+ noun stem blackbird, whitehorn, blackleg
Stonewall combinations In Modern English there are lots of word combinations of the type price rise, wage freeze, steel helmet, sand castle. Grammarians can’t come to the conclusion whether adjectives can be formed by means of conversion from nouns.
Abbreviations The causes of shortening can be linguistic and extra-linguistic. Abbreviation doesn’t change the part-of-speech meaning. Examples: prof=professor, to rev=to revolve, comfy=comfortable.
Such words as asleep, abed, ablaze, afraid, akin, alive have been named adjectives, though they can’t be attributes in a sentence, and though their meaning doesn’t seem to be that of property. The a- means on, in or at. Statives are invariable. They often show a temporary state rather than a permanent one. They most usually follow a link-verb (was asleep) or they can be used like a participle, but they can’t go before the noun they modify. In the sentence a stative is most usually a predicative (he fell asleep). The statives
Conversion, one of the principal ways of forming words in Modern English is highly productive in replenishing the English word-stock with new words. This term refers to the numerous cases of words belonging to different parts of speech. This may be illustrated by the following cases: work – to work; love – to love; paper – to paper. As a rule we deal with simple words. There is a certain difference on the morphological level between various parts of speech, mostly between nouns and verbs. What serves a word- building means? The answer is a paradigm. As it is a morphologi- cal category, conversion can be described as a morphological way of forming words. Conversion
Blends are words formed from a word-group or two synonyms. In blends two ways of word-building are combined: abbreviation and composition. To form a blend we clip the end of the first component and the beginning of the second component. As a result we have a compound –shortened word. One of the first blends in English was the word “smog” from two synonyms: smoke and fog. Mostly blends are formed from a word-group: Blends